Head Start, resource directors exit EOPA in wake of chief executive's ouster

Albert Scott has been with the agency since 2002 and became leader of the Head Start program in 2011.
Albert Scott has been with the agency since 2002 and became leader of the Head Start program in 2011.

Two key leaders at a Toledo anti-poverty agency have retired in the wake of the ouster of its chief executive officer.

Among those who have left or soon will leave the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo are Head Start Director Albert Scott and Director of Community Resource Coordinating, William Mosely.

The agency’s deputy director, Greg Hopkins, was reassigned to Mr. Mosely’s role.

“There is some change that is going on at the agency,” said the Rev. Donald Perryman, the board chairman. “Not everyone will be a good fit for the direction we are going.”

Last month, board members voted to fire Chief Executive Officer James Powell and named Chief Financial Officer Robert Jordan the interim leader. Mr. Jordan said Thursday he did not anticipate any more major personnel changes.

“I think there was a general understanding that when Mr. Powell left, there would be other leadership changes as well,” said Aaron Baker, a board member. “What we really want is to make sure we are providing the services we’re supposed to be providing in the best way we can.”

The Toledo anti-poverty agency runs a number of social-service programs, largest among them Head Start, which the organization is in danger of losing.

Much of the board’s discussion before voting to terminate Mr. Powell focused on several federal reviews of the Head Start program and whether issues such as underenrollment, enrolling children whose family incomes exceeded program limits, incorrectly spending Head Start funds on a building without authorization, and properly screening young children for developmental delays have been corrected.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce in the next several months if EOPA will retain the program, or at least part of it, or if another entity will run Head Start in Lucas County.

Mr. Scott had worked at EOPA since 2002; he became leader of Head Start at EOPA in late 2011, the third director at Head Start in as many years. Personnel records show he was paid $80,017 a year. He had an extensive education career in the Toledo Public Schools but no background in early childhood education, which some critics said made him a poor choice to lead Head Start.

A letter from Mr. Scott to EOPA board members said he enjoyed positively affecting the lives of Head Start children and families and wished the best for the agency. His retirement was effective Wednesday. He could not be reached for comment.

“The changes that we need to make [to Head Start] from a system perspective are very large changes,” said Paula Ross, an EOPA board member who spent several hours reviewing the Head Start program with Mr. Scott this week.

Ms. Ross said EOPA has filed a quality improvement plan to correct some of the issues that past federal reviews have cited at EOPA.

Mr. Mosely had worked at EOPA since 1978. His annual salary was $50,918, according to personnel records. He was among a group of employees who board members voted to discipline in the wake of an internal agency report in 2010 that found “purposeful impropriety” as well as “systemic failures” occurred surrounding the hiring of a woman with a criminal background in a program that provided home visits for seniors. The decision to discipline him was later reversed.

His retirement will become effective next month.

“I’ve been there 35 years,” he said Thursday, citing the reason for his retirement.

Mr. Hopkins has worked for EOPA since 2006; his salary is $79,790, personnel records indicate. Performance reviews examined by The Blade for Mr. Hopkins were largely positive, praising his dependability and productivity on the job. He could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Perryman said that Mr. Hopkins’ job change was "nothing punitive."

Contact Kate Giammarise at: kgiammarise@theblade.com or 419-724-6091, or on Twitter @KateGiammarise.